Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Sometimes play can be scary. In a good way. Why do we like play that scares us?
Regular readers will know that in past years a group of us have had a lot of fun doing some informal practice in Lasers on Tuesday evenings in Bristol Harbor although last year, for various reasons, it was hard to persuade my friends to come out and play with me in Bristol on Tuesdays on a regular basis. So, when one of my friends emailed me and suggested that the two of us kick off the Bristol on Tuesdays season this week I was very ready to agree.
He let me choose the time we would sail. In retrospect choosing to go sailing around 5pm may not have been entirely wise.
I hadn't sailed since early April and hadn't been out in heavy air since early March. Let's just say that I was a bit rusty. The wind graph shows the wind at 15-18 knots gusting to 28-30, but it felt to me as if it were nearer to the top end of the range for most of that time.
I wimped out before we even launched by choosing to wear a drysuit. I didn't regret that choice. I did not feel in control while we were sailing. My friend was faster than me upwind and a lot faster than me downwind. On our first downwind leg I did get the boat on a course approximating a run and did succeed in executing one gybe. After that I confess I sailed all the downwinds on broad reaches and did chicken gybes (tacked around) at the end of each reach.
After what felt like more than enough out of control sailing my friend waited for me at our windward mark. We couldn't hear each other in the wind so he indicated with much waving of arms the suggestion that we sail down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up and then in. (I may have miscounted how many more laps he wanted to do. It might have even been more.) I indicated with much waving of arms that down, up and then in would be fine with me.
So that's what we did. Only he sailed way further upwind than me, way past our windward mark. Then on our downwind he sailed way past the beach where we launched, down into the northern end of the harbor. He is a bit of an overachiever.
As we sailed back to the beach, I noticed something strange about his (nearly new) sail. Apparently even an overachiever can occasionally get his mast stuck in the mud.
And so to Redlefsens for some hot food, good conversation and several glasses of Pilsner Urquell which tastes much better than Bristol Harbor water.
I think I'm going to write off yesterday's sailing as one of those Nietzschian experiences. That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
I just hope Nietzsche was right.